The hits keep coming for the beleaguered Detroit Lions, and Monday, they lost yet another key player for the rest of the 2019 season.
Linebacker Jahlani Tavai was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury by the team, Lions’ coach Matt Patricia revealed. Tavai has been playing well in recent weeks and was one of the only remaining healthy linebackers Detroit had. Tavai injured the shoulder while attempting to make a tackle in the game.
Patricia didn’t explain how much time Tavai could be expected to miss with the injury, but unfortunately, it’s similar in nature to the ailment Tavai sustained at Hawaii which cost him time last offseason and caused his draft stock to plummet.
With Tavai now missing for Week 17, the Lions will finish the season with less than a handful of healthy linebackers. It’s been an absurd season of injuries for the team, and this latest ailment for Tavai only adds to the pain the team has faced down.
Jahlani Tavai Lions Stats
So far this season, Tavai has done a bit of everything for the Lions. He’s collected 50 tackles, 2 sacks and 1 fumble recovery coming into this game. Known for his hair, Tavai has made a ton of big plays for Detroit this season and has been a quality player for their defense.
As Tavai gets more time and sees more starts, the expectation would be that he can continue to make big plays like this and pile up more big time plays for Detroit. Now, he will have to wait until 2020 in order to do this for the team considering this latest injury.
Jahlani Tavai Lions Top Defensive Rookie
While the Lions are beginning to get solid snaps from Will Harris at safety, Detroit has quietly seen the majority of their impact plays come from Tavai at linebacker. He already forced one vital fumble this season, picked off a key pass and has put up 58 combined tackles and 2 sacks thus far this year.
Tavai is going to be a bright spot at the position into the future for the team, and early on, he has not looked overmatched on the field in the NFL. That’s huge given his smaller school stature and the expectations Lions fans had for him coming out of college into the draft. As Tavai continues to work in Matt Patricia’s defense, the expectation is he will get even better and be able to play even more of a consistent role for the team.
With the snaps all of Detroit’s rookies have gathered so far, they could be setting themselves up for a very bright future. Classically, playing rookies extended minutes in the NFL is indicative of a bad team, but the Lions are bucking that trend and getting their younger players some quality snaps.
Unfortunately for Tavai, his 2019 season is over, but the hope is the linebacker can return healthy and ready to make a huge impact in 2020 for a very needy Lions’ defense.
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